Small Island Developing States (SIDS), due their small size, limited land areas and remote locations, are at high risk for disasters, said His Excellency Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations. Speaking at the Official Launching Event of the 2015 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, prepared by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), and citing the example of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, as well as the 2014 Male’ Water Crisis, Ambassador Sareer noted that a relatively small and insignificant event for some, can affect large proportions of populations in SIDS, in very significant ways.
Ambassador Sareer also outlined the impact climate change is having on SIDS, posing a developmental and existential threat. SIDS economies are also unduly burdened by natural and man-made disasters, as disasters in SIDS, unlike other countries, reverberate across the whole country, amplifying effects and intensifying damage.
In connection with the effects of disasters on the development of SIDS, especially those countries that have graduated or are in the process of graduating from the list of Least Developed Countries, he urged for a reconsideration of the criteria used to assess development. Ambassador Sareer called for measures that take into account the extreme vulnerability SIDS face to environmental shocks, natural and man-made disasters.
Speaking to the reports findings, Ambassador Sareer welcomed the report as underscoring the links between key processes on disaster risk reduction, sustainable development, climate change, and the means of implementation. He noted that the Report serves as a reminder that “without addressing risks, we cannot move ahead towards sustainability”.
His Excellency Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, launched the 2015 Global Assessment Report.